Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Lili Damita - Third of four Postings

Lili met her husband to be Errol Flynn aboard an ocean liner that was taking her and the then relatively unknown actor from England to America in 1935. He felt attracted to her, but she rebuffed him and it led to a mutual dislike. Of course six months later, the couple that publicly hated each other in Hollywood eloped to Yuma, Arizona and were married.

In 1939, Lili said, although contentedly, "Being married to Flynn (she called him Flynn and he called her Damita) is exactly like living on top of a volcano. I like that. A volcano which does erupt. Constantly - yes, but daily! We are always just arriving or just leaving. Flynn and I." She was also quoted that she knew Captain Blood would make him a star and she was right. Her favorite film of his was The Adventures of Robin Hood (What wonderful Technicolor) .

Lili also offered this obvious insight, "He likes a woman to be feminine. That is because he is so very masculine. He is a man's man. He is a man, a young, attractive man. But he has an eye, too, for a pretty face." And that is what eventually led to their divorce in 1942. What a wild marriage that must have been. Her images leave no question in my mind as to why Errol was attracted to her.

Lili Damita - What do you think? Allure?

Saturday, February 24, 2007


I just received a copy of the April 1933 edition of "Hollywood", sub-headed The Screen's Only Pictorial Magazine, which I don't understand at all - there were of course dozens of movie magazines at the time. Anyway, the back cover caught my eye because the ad uses the word "alluring" and its a movie mag from 1933, so of course I have to post it!

Here is the cover, with Sally Blane (not sure who the illustrator was) and the intriguing cover story, How Lupe Velez Gets Her Man - in this case he was Tarzan, aka Johnny Weissmuller.

Lastly, and completely aside, this magazine contains an ad for Murders in the Zoo, a 1933 film I saw years ago, but the ad prompted me to view it again. It is quite gruesome actually - the opening scene has the always creepy Lionel Atwill sewing up the lips of a man who kissed his wife. His insanity proceeds from there as others become victim to various zoo animals. Charlie Ruggles has an unnecessary comedic role. Gail Patrick also stars. At the time the censors were outraged by various scenes and the film underwent numerous edits before its theatrical release. Not sure if this slipped under the Hayes code - it was released right around the transition to the code's restrictions.

Click on the images for a larger view.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Lili Damita - Second of four postings

As we continue our look at Lili's career we know that in 1928, at the invitation of Samuel Goldwyn, she went to Hollywood, making her American debut in a film titled "The Rescue", where she shared the lead with Ronald Coleman. She then was leased out to several studios where she appeared with Gary Cooper, Maurice Chevalier, Laurence Olivier, Cary Grant, and James Cagney. Her films included the 1929 box office success Raoul Walsh's The Cockeyed World. She then made 11 more films, mostly in staring roles, before she met husband to be Errol Flynn. More on that in the next post.

Lili Damita - What do you think? Allure?

Saturday, February 17, 2007


A quick mention of the current (March 2007) Vanity Fair. There are two items that caught my interest (thanks Aimee for the heads up). Annie Leibovitz has a photo essay in conjunction with a short narrative that recreates, using today's "stars", a short film noir screenplay. Following the 32 page Leibovitz shoot is a concise essay on film noir by Ann Douglas, Columbia professor and author of "Terrible Honesty: Mongrel Manhattan in the 1920s". Check it out.

In my prior Asides I posted what I thought was a rather amusing 1933 letter to Movie Classic magazine by Mrs. Hannah Feldman of Atlanta, Ga., on Marlene Dietrich's fashion sense, and how it wasn't going to last. Well, I was looking through the April 1934 issue of Modern Screen, and none other than Cecil B. DeMille weighed in on the same issue. Asked about what defines glamor, DeMille says, "It's all your old friend sex appeal anyhow, dressed in fancy clothes, but not, if you please, in trousers." This when he was a Paramount director and Marlene was its biggest star. He finishes with these words, "When they wear 'em they take away all the allure, all charm, all subtlety. In other words, I'm agin 'em and agin' em strong!" So there you have it, Feldman and DeMille have spoken.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Lili Damita - First of four postings

Liliane Marie-Madeleine Carre was born in Bordeaux, France. She was educated in convents and ballet schools in several European countries, including France, Spain and Portugal. At 14, she was enroled as a dancer at the Opera de Paris and by age 16 was a music hall sensation, succeeding the legendary Mistinguette as star of the Casino de Paris revue. Lili also worked as a photographic model and was offered a role in film as a prize for winning a magazine beauty competition in 1921. She appeared in several French silent films before being offered her first leading role in Das Spielzeug von Paris by director legendary director Michael Curtiz.

She soon became the second wife of Curtiz, but the marriage was over in less than a year following Curtiz's emigration to the USA.

More about Lili and her marriage to Errol Flynn in subsequent posts.

Lili Damita - What do you think? Allure?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Trude von Molo

Trude von Molo (1906 – 1989) was born in Vienna and was active in German film from 1930 -1933. During that time she appeared in only 9 films, but her impact was such that in 1987 she was awarded with the Filmband in Gold in 1987 for her outstanding work in the German film industry. Of particular note was her lead role in The Theft of the Mona Lisa in 1931. What I discovered about this actress is that she had a twin brother, Karl Von Molo, who worked as assistant editor on Fritz Lang's masterpiece M and other projects. It is also noted that her father was a screenwriter and for a time the president of the Prussian Writer's Academy, whose membership included Herman Hesse and Thomas Mann.

Trude Von Molo - What do you think? Allure?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Decided to move "Asides" section to the posts area on the off chance that someone may actually have a comment.

Feb 3 -
So I am perusing the June 1933 Issue of Movie Classic magazine and come across the letters column. It seems each month they rate the letters submitted and give $20 for the top letter and then $10 and $5 for the runner-ups. The letter below seemed appropriate for this blog and it gives one woman's opinion on how women should dress to enhance their allure (although she doesn't use the word) and sticks up for the poor beleaguered gentlemen of the time.

The $20.00 letter - Marlene's Pants
All this hullabaloo about Marlene Dietrich's pants gives me a pain in the neck. Nothing, say I, but a cheap bid for publicity, and believe me, she got her share. Her assertion that American women should not imitate her because they do not look good in trousers, is an insult to the symmetry of our American stars, and if they are foolish enough to follow her idiotic fashion, they will soon find they have lost plenty of their popularity. But there's no need to worry as this foolish fad won't last any longer than Eve's fig leaf. The lure of feminine finery is too strong for women, and what would the stars spend their money on, if they eliminated beautiful clothes? The more feminine women are, the more attraction they have for men. And we, the long suffering General Public, want our stars feminine. There is nothing in the world more charming than a beautiful girl in a shimmering dress, be it silk or organdie. Our poor men are having enough trouble these days, what with women having taken their jobs; their barber chairs; their cigarettes and choice swear words. The least they can do is leave the poor creatures their trousers. MRS. HANNAH FELDMAN, Atlanta, Ga.

Jan 30 -
I watched The Silver Horde (1930) this past weekend starring Evelyn Brent in her third talkie after about 75 silent outings. I must say she reminded me so much of a young Barbara Stanwyck (Barbara was seven years Evelyn's junior) in terms of her confident manner, worldly savvy and even her speech patterns. Check Ms. Brent out on this blog - 6/5/06, but if you get a chance, try to catch her when it comes around on TCM. Joel McCrea, Jean Arthur, Blanche Sweet, and Raymond Hatton also star.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Margaret Livingston

Margaret (Marguerite) Livingston was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and made her film debut in 1916. She made over 50 silent films before making a fairly successful move to sound. She occasionally dubbed voices for some actresses, including Louise Brooks in The Canary Murder Case (1929). Arguably her silent film highlight was in F.W. Murnau's 1927 Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (aka Sunrise) . In Sunrise she was cast as "The Woman From the City", who disrupted the lives of a love/lust stricken farmer and his wife.

In 1931 Margaret married popular band leader Paul Whiteman and retired from film three years later.

Livingston is also known for being on William Randolph Hearst's yacht, The Oneida, during the weekend in November 1924 when film director and producer Thomas Ince died there under mysterious circumstances.

Margaret died in 1984.

Margaret Livingston - What do you think? Allure?